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Accidental Happiness
by Jean Reynolds Page

Category: Fiction / General
336 pages; ISBN: 0345462173

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

Accidental Happiness
Jean Reynolds Page
Ballantine, Jan 2005, $22.95, 336 pp.
ISBN: 0345462173

Three months ago Benjamin Melrose died in a car accident leaving behind a grieving widow Gina whose feelings are compounded by guilt as she insisted he, not AAA, pick her up when her car was out of gas during that fatal drive. Struggling to cope with remorse, Gina moves into her late husband’s sailboat River Rose. Late one night Gina sees movement on her sailboat and fires a gun, shooting Angel, the daughter of Ben’s first wife Reese. Gina joins Reese at the emergency room where Angel is provided medical care.

As Angel recovers, she and her mom move in with Gina, who feels she is doing the right thing by her late husband. Soon Gina begins to heal mostly because of Angel who she wonders if the kid is Benjamin’s child, a question Reese refuses to answer. As Angel and Gina become close and in many ways more like a daughter-mother relationship than Reese has, the first wife begins acting bizarre making the second spouse determined to keep the potential offspring safe and nurtured at any cost to herself.

ACCIDENTAL HAPPINESS is an intriguing extended family drama in which the five key players (the two spouses, the child, the deceased and Georgie the dog) contain different personalities as each one seems real and their interplay authentic though strange. The characters make the story line with the varying relationships between each of them interesting and supportive of their particular values to include a well designed look at mental illness. Contemporary fans will appreciate this deep look at the extensive modern day family whose foci has recently passed away leaving guilt and remorse behind.

Harriet Klausner

 

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